New guide helps employers meet first aid needs

Adding new life-saving equipment to first aid kits and encouraging mental health crisis training are among the recommendations in WorkSafe's updated guide to workplace first aid.


The First Aid in the Workplace Compliance Code offers practical guidance for employers to ensure they are complying with their duty to provide a safe workplace.

It replaces the 2008 code, with updates including recommendations to consider adding asthma-relieving inhalers and epinephrine auto-injectors (Epipens) to first aid kits and to consider training for first aid officers to assist people experiencing a mental health crisis. 

It also provides information on providing adequate first aid room facilities, assessing first aid needs and ensuring training remains up-to-date.

The guidance is not mandatory, however, employers that comply with the code will be considered to have complied with their duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. 

The code, which was developed in consultation with specialists and employer and employee representatives, offers two options for compliance – the prescribed approach and the risk assessment approach. 

The prescribed approach gives prescriptive guidance on complying with the OHS Act and is suited to small to medium-sized workplaces. The risk assessment approach guides employers through the process of determining their first aid responsibilities based on an assessment of their workplace hazards and risks.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said the code offered clear advice to employers to ensure they were meeting their obligations.

"It's important that every employer is providing a safe working environment for their workers and meeting their welfare needs and that includes providing first aid kits and suitably trained first aid officers," Dr Beer said. 

"The code gives employers the practical tools they need to apply to their own situation and workplaces."

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